Friday, June 28, 2013

Love Come To Me

Happy Friday!  It would appear that Pinterest has changed how they imbed pins and I can't seem to figure out how it now works.  So, I might not be sharing any more Friday Funday posts that include my favorite pins for the week.  Therefore, today I thought I'd share a light and fluffy book review to round out this week and prepare you for the weekend.

My mother-in-law said the funniest thing to me earlier this week.  We were talking about the kinds of books that we like to read and she was going through her list and included some genres that she didn't like.  And you know what one of them was?  She termed it "bodice busters."  I started laughing and she asked me, "Well, isn't that what they call them?"  I told her I'd never heard of that term before, but I liked it and thought it was funny. 

Well, if you've read this blog for any length of time you know that, from time to time, I need a little fluff in between intense books.  And sometimes that includes a "bodice buster."  Well, that's what I was looking for whenever I picked up this latest Lisa Kleypas.  I had just finished The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, The Light Between Oceans and Redeeming Love.  I'd read enough factoids to go on for a bit and I'd cried/teared up enough that I didn't want to pick up another book that would make me feel the same way.  So, behold...

There is just something about a Kleypas book that makes for a fantastic reading palate cleanser.  Whenever you pick up one of her books you know precisely what's going to happen...two people are going to fall in love and live happily ever after in the end.  Yet, how she weaves her story is always enjoyable even if it does fall within that "bodice buster" classification.  Love Come to Me wasn't my favorite Kleypas, but it was still pretty enjoyable and I would recommend it if you're in the mood for this kind of book.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Harvest Time!

This has been a pretty eventful week! It's wheat harvest time for anyone who might wonder about the pictures below. Before I married David, I guess you could say I was blissfully unaware of anything having to do with harvesting of crops/grains. Now, we can't drive down a highway without him quizzing me on what the various crops growing on the sides of the road happen to be. I've learned a lot, I guess you could say!

I will say that there are parts of harvest that are pretty. The fields waving in the wind can be very calming. Though, when it's time to cut...those are looooong days for the men on the farm!

While the men are out in the fields, you can't overlook what the women are doing. The farm still has to run, even during this time. That includes cooking, cleaning, watering the garden, feeding the animals, etc., etc. 

Here's a pic of the delicious enchiladas that my mother-in-law and I made on one of the first days. Donna was trying to figure out how to use up the meat in a roast, so I suggested shredded beef enchiladas. And because we were out (and town isn't super close) we made our own enchilada sauce and tortillas! They were delish!

We also made a few desserts. And my mother-in-law made her famous cinnamon rolls. So good!

Of course, one of my favorite things about this visit was the newest member of the farm! My in-laws have always had cats for the barn; they need those mousers! And when their old cat passed a while back, they decided to wait a while to get another (or 3). 

They recently received a momma cat and her two babies. Only one of the babies has been sociable and they're not even sure if the momma has hung around, we haven't seen hide nor hair of her. However, here are some cutie patootie pics of the sociable little kitten. She's suuuuper sweet and loves to play, be held and petted. 

And I can't not include the Ferg. Fergie is, quite possibly, the best farm dog ever. Love her. 

And you know Molly got to venture out to the field some too! My mother-in-law and I arranged it so that each dog got to go every other field meal delivery. 

While harvest isn't completely over, David and I will have to reacquaint ourselves with our regular everday lives again tomorrow. David's worked hard and I've enjoyed helping my mother-in-law this past week. But, it's back to normality again soon!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fall of Giants

I must say that I think Ken Follett is becoming one of my favorite authors. Fall of Giants is only the third book of his that I've read. However, the previous two are definitely faves and upon finishing this one, I'd say this series is well on it's way to becoming yet another favorite. 

The main premise of this book surrounds how different families around the world react and are affected by the Great War (aka World War I). You follow people in England, Germany, Hungary, Russia and the United States. Each person, in some way, either knows, becomes connected to or meets the other characters. And there is just something magical about how Follett manages to weave that web of social complexity. He really does have a gift for it. 

The only main difference I'd say in how the characters develop and how the plot thickens in this book versus Pillars of the Earth and World Without End is the sex. I don't normally talk about "those types of scenes" in books. However, because it just wasn't that prevalent in the others, I was shocked at how much there is in this one. In fact, one of the main male characters is...well, my mom used to use the term "horn dog." And this character fits the bill with that description!  So, if you blush easily...tread carefully with this one!

Needless to say, I would definitely recommend this one and am greatly anticipating reading the second book in this trilogy, Winter of the World

Have you read any Ken Follett? What did you think?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Redeeming Love

Before I start with this next book review, I have a little bit of a "mud" post to write and share with you.  And the reason I picked this particular post to do it is because: if this book were a movie, it would more than likely fall into the following category.

Let me set the stage a little bit.  For 2-3 days each week, David comes home from work and then immediately changes to go to the gym.  He doesn't stop to eat dinner or hang around much and once he leaves he's gone for a little over an hour (our gym is super close and he works out for approximately an hour each session).  Well, when he left I started channel flipping and stumbled upon an oldie, but goodie.  Steel Magnolias.  OMG, I think most women love this movie because it takes you on that roller coaster of laugh, you feel nostalgic/sentimental and most of all sad. 

This type of movie I treat almost the same way each and every time I watch it...I watch approximately 2/3 of it and then I shut it off.  When David came home he asked me if he could change the channel and I said, "Absolutely, I can't watch the end of this anyway."  He just looked at me like I was crazy and said something like, "Why?  Doesn't Julia Roberts die?  That's all, nothing to cry about."  Excuse me, that's all?  Apparently these types of movies don't affect men the same way...or something.  A couple of examples of other movies that fall within this category are Stepmom and Fried Green Tomatoes (though I can normally watch this one all the way to the end).

Redeeming Love is the fourth Francine Rivers book that I have ever read.  And I have to say, I can see why so many people just love her.  Rivers' writing style is so fluid and easy to read.  It's amazing how she can look at a bible passage, do some biblical research and then a beautiful story with dialogue flows from her fingers.

This book is a retelling of the slightly obscure bible story of Hosea and Gomer.  The main premise of the bible story is that Hosea is spoken directly to by God and given the command to marry a prostitute.  Not just any prostitute, mind you, Gomer.  In Redeeming Love the character's names are John Hosea and Sarah, but she is primarily called Angel.  Rivers sets the stage in California right in the middle of the gold rush. 

Angel/Gomer runs away from Hosea three times in both stories.  The effects of these actions, both emotionally and physically to the two involved can be heart-wrenching.  I had a friend ask me if I got irritated with Angel for continuing to run away from Hosea.  And I have to say 'no.'  I know that I am not as messed up in the head as this woman was...for instance, in the prologue you learn that Angel heard her very own father tell her mother that he wishes Angel had been aborted.  Talk about a need for some counseling!  This book isn't an easy read at times and you will most definitely get a little irritated from time to time, but I could understand and see why each character acted the way they did. 

It took me a while to read this book.  And not because it was all that long (though it was) or because I got bored with it.  Rather, there were times when I would read 20-50 pages and then want to "stew on it" for a little while.  This was one of those books that I wanted to sip like a fine wine.  So, I took my time...and I'm glad I was worth it.  Over one million people aren't wrong, this one is definitely a keeper.  I would most definitely recommend it!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Elephants Can Remember

Remember how I got a ton of books (especially Agatha Christie) from my great-great aunt's house a little over a year ago?  Well, this is one of them!

Elephants Can Remember is, as you might be able to guess, the story of a cold case.  A middle-aged, slightly reclusive authoress (Mrs. Oliver) is attending a literary luncheon when a rather brass woman approaches her and pulls her aside.  It turns out that this woman's son is interested in marrying Mrs. Oliver's goddaughter, Celia.  However, before she can allow that to happen she wants Mrs. Oliver to find out definitively what happened to Celia's parents twelve years ago.

You see, Celia's parents' bodies were discovered on their property, near a cliff.  Both had been shot and the gun was lying on the ground between them with both their prints on it.  Did the husband shoot his wife then himself or did the wife shoot the husband then herself or was it a suicide pact?

Mrs. Oliver has no desire to help this rather rude woman, but she is rather curious herself.  So, she decides to call up her good friend, Hercule Poirot, and the two begin a private investigation. 

I will say that while this is the third Agatha Christie I've read and that I would rank it third amongst the others...I didn't dislike this one a bit!  The girls at my book club said that was just a nice way of saying I liked it least.  Well, that's just not the truth!  I still liked this one, but it just lacked that extra bit of intrigue and interest the other two had.  I would definitely recommend it and thoroughly enjoyed this quick and easy read!

P.S. I've yet to guess 100% the ending of an Agatha Christie mystery...she's surprised me all three times!

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

This book is definitely not one that you will feel warm and fuzzies at the conclusion of, for sure.  The reason I picked up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is because it was one of my best friend's favorite book.  I mentioned Tom's passing when it happened, almost a year ago.  It still doesn't feel quite real, but yet I know that it is.

Because this book is ginormous and I knew it was going to be dry, I was ecstatic to see it available in audiobook form via my local library's app.  I listened through all 57+ hours and I wasn't really all that surprised by the content, simply because Tom had talked to me about it before...many times.  It's dry.  Very.  Only if you're a history buff or just really wanting to read it, will you get through.  I will say that listening to it helped tremendously; I'm not sure I would have made it through had I read it like an everyday book.

There are definitely some interesting tidbits within this book...for instance, did you know that Hitler was in love with his niece?  Creep-o factor at a 10!  He was a very stealthy, tricky, smart person...but, he was also what I would call very evil.  I'm pretty sure most of the world would agree with that.  But, regardless...this book isn't just about Hitler.  It surrounds the entire third reich.  I learned a lot and I'm, for sure, glad that I read it.  However, I won't be picking it up again any time soon...if ever, really.  If you're really interested in this stuff I might recommend it, otherwise not.  For a lot of this book, it's like reading a textbook.  And once we get out of school/college, who wants to do that anymore?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rhubarb Pie - A Dave's Fave

One very important thing that meeting David has done for me involves introducing rhubarb to my eating/cooking/baking repertoire.  I'd heard of it before meeting him, but had never tasted the wondermousness that is this fruit/vegetable.  And when writing this post, I had to stop and look up whether or not it's a fruit or vegetable.  According to Wikipedia, it's both!  How funny and odd!

Anyway, other than coconut cream pie (for my recipe click here), rhubarb pie is David's absolute favorite.  Like most all fruits and vegetables, rhubarb has a harvesting season and is only available certain times of the year.  For the most part, spring and early summer.  I don't see it very often in the grocery store and almost never at the farmer's markets around here.  So, when I do see it, I snatch it right up!

Today was one of those days.  Lookie at my grocery store loot! 

If you've never looked for or seen this in your grocer, this is what it should look like.  A red celery, if you will.

So, with this delicious cruciferous veggie/fruit, I thought I'd share with you my favorite recipe (and David's)!  And extra bonus points, it's suuuuper easy!  Only four ingredients in the filling!!

Rhubarb Pie

2 recipe's worth of pastry crust (for my good ol' standby recipe, click here)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6ish cups of fresh rhubarb, sliced (I say 6ish because I usually just grab a bunch, like above, and whatever I end up with is what goes into the pie.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line 9-inch pie plate with one pastry crust.

In a large bowl, gently toss together the rhubarb, sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Do this until the rhubarb is completely coated.

Transfer rhubarb mixture to the pastry-lined pie plate.

Place second pasty crust on top.  Trim/crimp edges and slice openings in the top as desired.

Brush pastry top with milk and sprinkle additional sugar before baking.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Cover with foil and then bake for another 20-30 minutes. 

You could also do this opposite (cover with foil, then uncover and bake longer).  Whichever way suits you best!  I just like to get the proper amount of browning out of the way first, so that I don't have to worry about is so much at the end.  There's nothing worse than over-browning your crust within a few minutes of pulling it out of the oven.

Let the deliciousness begin!

This pie is best served with vanilla ice cream, but it still tastes great without.  I hope you give this pie recipe a go.  It really is worth the effort!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cloud Atlas

I've waited quite a while to review this book.  I actually read this three months ago, but I didn't want to review it just yet.  Why?  Because I knew the movie was coming out on Blu-ray and I wanted to see it and review it after the fact.

I'll give a little background about why I read this's listed on my "classics" list because it was on one of my "100 books to read before you die" or some such list, plus it was coming out in a movie.  Double plus, right?  It's won a bunch of awards and has some pretty positive buzz surrounding it.

This book follows numerous different generations all in the past, present and future.  The book follows one period of time, chronologically, in each instance.  Then, once you pass the center point, it goes backwards following the future and so forth until the last scene is with the distant past.  This book has a lot of fantastic morals and messages while embracing the concepts of karma, God and reincarnation.  It also delves into how one generation can affect another, then another, yet another and so forth...

And I hated it.  Literally.  The book is very discombobulated in parts and I couldn't figure out how one part connected to another.  It, mostly, made sense to me in the end; I understood the concept and what the main "points" I was supposed to walk away with were.  However, I didn't enjoy the writing style...AT.ALL.

So, I thought that if I watched the movie, perhaps this would be one of those jewels where the movie was better than the book?  Possibly?  Hopefully?  Maybe?

Well, the answer to that is...a little.  David sat down and started this movie with me.  And I was glad for that because I wanted to know if he would end up liking it or if it was just me.  One important tidbit about this movie: it's almost 3 hours.  Seriously. 

David was lost less than 10 minutes in and he gave up after an hour.  I continued to plow through simply because I understood what was going on; David had no clue and had lost interest.  I'm glad I finished it because I did have a greater understanding and appreciation for the book/story afterwards. 

However, and this is a very big however, I would not read this book nor watch this movie again.  And I wouldn't recommend it either.  This was just not my thing.  I've noticed that the people that tend to like this book/movie are the more artsy and critic-type people.  I just don't fall within either of those categories, so I'm going to say this one was a bust for me.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Light Between Oceans

Happy Friday everyone!   I haven't been pinning that much over the past couple weeks...not sure why, but oh well!  Because of that I thought I'd skip this week's Friday Funday, including pins.  And since today happens to be book club Friday I thought I'd share with you one of the books I'll be discussing with my club tonight!  Enjoy and I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

This book is one of my book club rotation books that I was super excited to pick up.  I borrowed The Light Between Oceans a couple months back and when it finally made it's way to to the top of my borrowed pile, it ended up affecting me more than I would have expected. 

The main premise of this book involves a young couple (Tom and Isabel) meeting and falling in love and living together on a tiiiiiiny island 100 miles off the southwest point of Australia.  This tiny island bears a lighthouse that Tom operates for the safety of shipping vessels.  Within the first year or so of their marriage Isabel becomes pregnant and loses the baby...then it happens again...and again.  She is, literally, on the brink of going crazy and Tom realizes it, but doesn't know what to do. 

Then, suddenly a small dingy boat washes ashore and aboard are a deceased young man and a crying baby girl.  The infant is no more than a month or two old.  Isabel, against his will, convinces Tom to not report this incident and simply keep the little girl.  Isabel had just miscarried late in her last pregnancy and they hadn't wired to shore about it yet either; so, it would be easy to simply claim that her baby came a little early.

The rest of this novel surrounds the raising of this little girl by Isabel and Tom on the island.  Then, also their realization of where this baby came from once they make a quick trip to the mainland not too much later.  Once they realize the origin of their baby, should they return her to her rightful place...or continue to keep her and pretend ignorance?

The moral questions that this book brings up are heart-breaking and real.  M. L. Stedman really does make you feel what these characters are going through and I'll admit that I cried more than once during this book.  I had to wait a day or so after I finished it to decide what rating to give it, simply because of the myriad emotions I felt upon closing the book for the last time.  I decided to give it a strong 4 out of 5 stars.  And I would definitely recommend this book, but have some tissues nearby just in case you need them (I sure did!).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Crystal's Crafty

 Today I thought I'd give you a little update on all that I'm working on up in the craft room.  Here's a peek at what my table looked like earlier this week.  I spent a lot of time this past weekend cutting fabric into the patterns I wanted to sew in the foreseeable future.  I also decided to start cutting some nine patches out of my scraps, hence the little stack of squares.  If you follow me on Instagram you might recognize the fabric on the top right pile...those two table runners turned out beautifully.

Remember last week when I showed you this pattern?  Well, I sewed all the blocks together...and Molly's not impressed.  At all.  But, it looks pretty good.  These aren't my favorite colors, but they look a lot better in person than they do in the picture.  There's something about this oriental fabric that just doesn't shine through in these pictures.

This quilt top turned out pretty small, but I think it might make a nice table topper or perhaps wall hanging.  We'll see...for now it gets to go in my to-be-quilted pile!

Next up, I decided to try out this pattern, which this style of quilt block is commonly referred to as "log cabin."  I have to say, I love these fabrics and how these blocks are coming together.  I can't wait to see them all together!

Here's just a small peek at my stash of pre-cuts.  I got a lot more the other day, but these beauties will be made into something pretty soon!  And Molly was dyyyyying to lay on them, in case you can't tell.  Naughty girl.

Don't worry, I haven't given up fact, I might have went a little overboard the other day.  This top picture is all the clearance yarn I bought...I mean, cheap!  So, it only made sense that I snatch it all up, right?  The second pic is some baby yarn that I intend to experiment with very soon.  Maybe a new style of baby blanket is in store...

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little crafty update...hopefully, I'll have something super exciting to show you again in the near future.  Have a fantastic Friday Eve!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

An Invisible Thread

An Invisible Thread was recommended to me by one of my aunts.  This particular aunt has only ever really recommended to me two books: A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  Needless to say, these two are favorites of fact, the second is my all-time favorite non-fiction.  So, I wholeheartedly took her advice to pick this book up.

This book is exactly what the subtitle says it is...the true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny.  This book is written by Laura Schroff, the busy sales executive, and the book starts off with her walking on the streets of New York City one day and seeing a young boy asking for money.  She keeps walking on past him, but a few paces later, inexplicably, she decides to turn around and offers to take him for a meal.  After this first meeting the two develop a relationship over time and are still close today.

This is one of those books that makes you feel good, while wishing that you did more in your everyday life to help the less fortunate.  I really liked this book, but I wouldn't say it's a new favorite.  If you're looking for a quick, feel-good read, then I would recommend it.  But, don't expect anything earth shattering; it's just a good, solid mini-autobiography.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up and 1984

I hope everyone had a fantastic (rest of last week and) weekend.  This past week I took a mini road trip down to the southeastern part of Oklahoma.  It was one of my bestie's birthday and because David was out of town for work, I thought I'd give her the best present I possibly could...ME!

Here are a few pics from my few days visiting.  She had a cute hot pink and zebra print themed home party.  She also took me to this awwwwesome pizza place in Broken Bow (a little bit of a drive from her house), Grateful Head Pizza.  If you're ever down there...seriously, try it.  And don't forget to take a pic next to the bear carving.  I drove my car around while I was visiting so that we could enjoy the weather with the convertible top down.  Overall, I'd say it was a good visit.  Can't wait to see her again soon!

Now that I'm back to "regular programming" I thought I'd share a book review with you on this Monday afternoon.  Since Monday's never seem to make anyone feel that fantastic...I'll share a book that I would describe as a classic Monday book...1984.

OK, so I never had to read 1984 in school.  I remember hearing about it and I knew the general premise.  So, I decided that now would be a good time to try this one out...I needed a classic for this past month, so why not?

This book was the first dystopian book ever written.  So, if it weren't for 1984 we might not ever have had The Giver series, the Hunger Games trilogy, the Divergent trilogy, the Matched trilogy, the Maze Runner series...well, you get the idea.

This book follows the main character of Winston Smith, a very average man all around.  You follow Winston throughout his middle-aged years in a society where "Big Brother" is constantly watching you.  There are cameras everywhere and absolutely everything is monitored.  Towards the end Winston gets brought in for an "inquiry" type meeting and is detained.  There is definite mind control exercises and pain is used as a negative reinforcement.  It's rather disappointing that Winston succumbs to the torture in the end. 

This is a rather not-feel-good book and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I can appreciate why it was written and understand that it's books like this that mold our future in ways that people think "let's not do that."  I gave this book three out of five stars, simply for the classic and appreciation value.  However, I'm not sure I would recommend it or ever read it again.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Death on the Nile

I'm starting to get why everyone was so enraptured with Agatha Christie.  She really does know how to write a good book!  I really enjoy that her books are short, quick reads that also have a decent complexity in both character development and plot progression.

Death on the Nile is one of Christie's more popular books, it's even been converted into play and movie form.  The main premise surrounds the death of the young Mrs. Linnet Doyle, who is on an Egyptian honeymoon with her new husband.  Linnet's husband is the former fiancĂ© of one of her best friends...who happens to be "stalking" them throughout their honeymoon.  The infamous Hercule Poirot happens to be onboard the same Egyptian cruise and sets to investigating this intriguing case.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this one.  Even more than The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.  I never knew who the murderer was up until the very end and, honestly, I was a bit surprised by the end result.  Needless to say, I would highly recommend this Agatha Christie mystery.  Though, I will admit that I feel a little bit like an old lady while reading these Agatha Christie books, haha!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Getting a Little Crafty...and Quilty

I don't believe I've ever talked about it on here, but I thought I'd share an interesting tidbit about me and my mother.  We own an online quilt shop and sell all (well, almost all) of the makings you would need to sew a quilt.  We're talking fabric, patterns, notions (rulers, scissors, etc.) and much more.  If you'd like to take a gander at our site, then you can simply click here.

The idea for this quilt shop was actually mine, believe it or not.  You see, a few years ago on Super Bowl Sunday, I went with my mom and mother-in-law to a quilt shop for a sale.  Did you know that most quilt shops have big sales on that day?  What a great way to give the ladies something to do on a day when the men are glued to the TV!  Anyway, I remember holding the place in line for fabric to be cut while my mom and mother-in-law browsed (it was a loooong line).  And I thought to myself as I looked around, "This looks like fun...we could do this."  So, I brought it up to my mom and she was all for it, though she wanted to just do an online shop, not a brick and mortar. 

Well, the quilt shop was launched a little over a year ago and we're pretty happy with the way things are rolling.  We've got a fair amount of repeat customers and have learned some of the ins and outs of this business, though we're always learning!  We both really enjoy it and it's almost like not having a job.  You always hear that you should find what you enjoy and make that your job.  I think we might have found that niche for us both.

As you might recall, I just recently got a fantastic table set up for my sewing machine again.  It's been years since I've really had a place to sit down and sew and create.  Well, since I've been able to explore that creative outlet in myself again, I've kinda gone wild between the aprons I'm making and attempting to sell on Etsy and whatnot.  At any point in my house I'm either reading, crocheting or sewing.  Or reading AND crocheting or sewing if it's an audiobook. 

Here within the past week I've decided to go a little bit further...  My mother brought me a bunch of pre-cut projects out of her stash and below is one that I made in one afternoon.

I love how this table runner turned out and I'll probably reuse the pattern with some different fabric here pretty soon.  Before I made this I only had one table runner for our formal dining room table.  I'd love to have a handful of different ones to rotate throughout the year. 

Well, after I whipped up that bad boy I decided I'd try something that I've never done before.  Now, I want to premise this by sharing that my mom has purchased a long-arm machine for the shop.  If you're unfamiliar with what a long-arm machine is, it's basically a huge sewing machine that does the actual quilting part of a quilt.  A lot of people love to put together a quilt top, that's the creative and fun part.  But, a lot of people don't like to do the quilting part, which is laying the quilt top, batting and the backing together, then sewing a pretty pattern throughout (AKA quilting).  At some point in our shop we want to offer those services, but first we have to experiment a little.  So, my mom gave me some quilt blocks to assemble and eventually I'll get to use them as my guinea pigs on the long arm machine. 

So!  With that being said, I started my first ever quilt.  Here's a pic of the twelve blocks I sewed together and the pattern sheet.  On the far left of the tri-fold sheet is how the quilt will look assembled.  I'll be putting these blocks together really soon, then the quilt top will go in my "guinea pig" pile.  Exciting times, huh?!  And I'm so blessed to have both my mother and mother-in-law as back-ups for all of this.  Both love to sew and quilt, so if I run across a problem then I have both available for advice on how best to proceed.

If you're interested in what long-arming looks like by a true professional (and not what my novice/amateur stuff will be looking like) then I highly suggest checking out the Green Fairy Quilt Blog.  Her work is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  I, literally, look on in awe at what she can create with her long-arm; her feathers and swirls are gorgeous.  If I can get just half as good at it as she is, then I'll be happy!  You can visit her blog by clicking here.


OK, so yesterday my mom and I went to a book store. And you know what my mom said while the cashier was ringing me up?  She muttered, "Bookaholic.  You're a bookaholic."  Granted, I was buying 5 books, but two of them were clearance books that were only $1!  So, that's how I rationalize it.  Plus, I the way I feel about it can be summed up in one statement (which was my retort to my mother), "There are a lot worse things I could be addicted to."  So, with that being said...why don't we start out this Monday with a book review? 

My friend, Becky, was listening to this audiobook, Revolution, on the library app and when she was about a third of the way through it she told me I needed to start it.  So I did.

The premise of this YA novel surrounds the lives of two young women who live two centuries apart.  Andi lives in present day New York and her family is struggling with the death of her younger brother, Truman.  When Andi starts to fail her studies, her father decides to whisk her off to Paris in order to keep a better eye on her.  While in Paris, Andi comes across the diary of a similarly-aged young girl, Alexandrine, during the French Revolution.  As Andi reads about Alexandrine's past you begin to see a strong parallel in the two women's lives. 

There's a not all-together unsurprising twist in the end that rounds out the two stories quite nicely.  I enjoyed this book and give it a strong 3 out of 5 stars.  If I'd been better able to relate to one or both of the main characters I might have given it a higher rating, but there were times when I struggled with empathy simply because Andi can be a little bit of a Debbie Downer.  I'm so glad that this book turns out the way it does though, I felt fully satisfied with the ending and am glad that Andi is in a better mental and physical state in the end. 

Also, the accents with this audiobook are phenomenal.  If you're going to pick up this one, I'd highly recommend reading this book in audio format.  It definitely adds a little somethin'-somethin' to the story.


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